When you go to work, you expect to be treated fairly by your coworkers and management. As long as you are doing what is expected of you in your position, there should be no problems. Your employment doesn’t have to be your dream job but it needs to be a pleasant place that you exchange time for money to fund your lifestyle.
While at work you should never have to deal with harassment of any kind. Harassment is defined as any conduct, verbal or physical that is hostile or degrading to a person based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender, disability, or age.
This includes any threats or intimidation, hostile acts, inappropriate or offensive jokes, and slurs as well as graphic images or written material that denigrates an individual or group. Harassment may also include inappropriate sexual touching or language as well as innuendo and unwanted gestures of affection.
Here are some steps on how to prevent harassment in the workplace:
1. Implement a clear anti-harassment policy
Your company’s anti-harassment policy should be detailed to describe all forms of harassment in the workplace, including scenarios that may occur. They can also provide video training films to get a clear message out. The policies need to cover all employees and spell out consequences and disciplinary actions for any form of harassment.
For all employees, this policy needs be introduced during the hiring process and there should be a pledge to sign stating your willingness to treat all staff with respect.
2. Make sure complaints are handled fairly and swiftly
The HR department should be there to not only listen to employees, but work to resolve all complaints that come to them. If they don’t follow up on harassment claims staff will stop coming to them for help. This can cripple a company because employees are not being taken care of and could lead to people quitting or bringing legal action against the firm.
Harassment should never be tolerated in the workplace. Whether it is among employees or with management, it is unacceptable and must be dealt with swiftly before someone gets hurt.
Every complaint must be followed up with management and dealt with right away. If you need corporate investigation services to be involved, then the process has to start immediately. Employees shouldn’t have to worry about retaliation when they report harassment.
HR must not protect any employee, including management if there is a complaint because no one is above the law or should be excused from bad behaviour regardless of their position in the company.
3. Provide workplace training
Educate your employees so they can take a stand against any workplace harassment they encounter. Training helps them recognize, respond and report any instances of harassment they witness or incur during their workday. This includes all work-related activities from regular shifts and breaks as well as company parties and business trips.
Regular updated training for management and supervisors is essential so they can communicate it to staff accordingly. Implement monthly reviews of harassment policies so employees feel safe and know that management is ready to act on any complaints without risk of retaliation.
4. Foster healthy workplace culture
Instill positive reinforcement for good behaviour among staff as well as a good communication stream so everyone is heard and involved at work. Make sure HR has an open-door policy where employees feel comfortable talking to them and reporting any forms of harassment.
Diversity, respect, and inclusion should be highly valued with the team so no one feels left out. Every organization needs to build a healthy workplace culture so people can resolve conflict without harassment.
You don’t want your employees disengaged. You need them to feel valued and supported when they walk through that door and secure and respected all day long.
5. Revisit and revise workplace harassment policies
Any policy in place should be fluid. While you may have originally drafted a policy for your business, the work environment can change so make sure management updates your harassment policy to reflect those changes.
Have a refresher course for all employees to not only update them on any new policies but also to remind workers that they are cared for and have a safe place to work. Go through all existing harassment literature so everyone is reminded of what is tolerated and not tolerated in the company.
This empowers employees to come forward when they are feeling harassed and stand up to the perpetrators.
A company that doesn’t tolerate harassment is a place people want to work for. When you have strong policies protecting workers you will get the best out of them. Providing your staff an open, safe, and non-threatening workplace creates a positive and productive company with a staff that is loyal and trustworthy. Foster that safe community in your company. Put a stop to harassment in the workplace before it starts.